Gov. Greg Abbott is waiving all STAAR testing requirements for the current school year amid the coronavirus pandemic that is affecting school districts, he announced in a statement Monday. He is also requesting suspension of federal testing requirements.
Many North Texas school districts have canceled classes or extended Spring Break out of an abundance of caution amid coronavirus concerns.
"Governor Abbott is working closely with the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to ensure that schools continue to deliver instruction to students while students are absent or while schools are closed due to COVID-19," the statement said, in part. "This includes tailoring instruction for students with special needs so that they have access to the same education as other students in the district. "
Over 50 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in Texas through Monday, with 29 of those in North Texas.
The Texas Education Agency tweeted a statement from Commissioner Mike Morath.
"In normal times, STAAR serves as an invaluable tool to accurately and reliably diagnose how well students have learned to read, write, and do math," the statement said, in part. "...This year though, it has become apparent that schools will be unable to administer STAAR as they would normally."
Click here to see a full list of school closures and delays, which will be updated as announcements are made.
Gov. Greg Abbott's full statement:
AUSTIN - Governor Greg Abbott today announced that he has waived the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) testing requirements for the 2019-2020 school year. Additionally, Governor Abbott is requesting that the Department of Education (DOE) waive federal testing requirements for the 2019-2020 school year.
Governor Abbott is working closely with the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to ensure that schools continue to deliver instruction to students while students are absent or while schools are closed due to COVID-19. This includes tailoring instruction for students with special needs so that they have access to the same education as other students in the district. Governor Abbott will continue to work with the TEA on developing additional methods to ensure that students are learning and ready to succeed at the next grade-level. These discussions are ongoing and more information will be provided as it develops.
Full coverage of the COVID-19 outbreak and how it impacts you
"Your health and safety are top priorities, and the state of Texas will give school districts flexibility to protect and ensure the health of students, faculty, and their families," said Governor Abbott. "We will empower schools to make the best decisions to protect their communities from COVID-19."
The move to waive testing requirements reflects the Governor’s emphasis on public health over all other priorities at this time. In normal times, Texas’ assessment system provides educators and parents with reliable information on whether or not their students have mastered grade-level content. The Governor remains committed to ensuring parents, students, and school districts have access to this information in future years.
Superintendents should continue to prioritize the health and safety of students, faculty, and their families. Their leadership is an important part of our statewide efforts to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 and protect public health.
How to Avoid COVID-19 Infection:
The best way to prevent infection is to take precautions to avoid exposure to this virus, which are similar to the precautions you take to avoid the flu. CDC always recommends these everyday actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
*Information shared from the Office of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott